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North America Shuts Down Ski Resort Operations

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Within 24 hours, major ski resorts in the United States and Canada have followed the lead of the cruise industry, suspending all operations to prevent potential spreading of the coronavirus-outbreak” rel=”nofollow”>COVID-19 virus.

Originally, locations such as the Vail Resort-owned Mount Snow in Vermont were optimistic in remaining open for business, assuring their guests know that they were monitoring “the rapidly evolving impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) from all angles.”

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In a statement to coronavirus/index.html” rel=”nofollow”>CNN on the morning of March 14, Montana-based Big Sky Resort stated that they would remain open in the wake of the coronavirus spreading in the United States as the resort was “committed to providing a fun outdoor escape with the safest facilities and environment possible.”

Within a few hours, however, more ski resorts began to change their stance as popular European ski resorts in the Swiss Alps suspended their own operations. Big Sky Resort later announced that major spring events would be canceled. After several more hours, Big Sky Resort announced that all operations would be suspended after March 15.

Other resorts such as Deer Valley and Copper Mountain began to follow suit. Alterra Mountain Company, the owner of 15 North American ski resorts and Vail Resorts, has since closed its operations. Vail Resorts will close through March 22 but will provide an update on March 20 on the status of the rest of the season.

While most European resorts plan to close indefinitely for the season, many North American locations are hopeful that the slopes reopen before the end of the season. Though it varies from location, Mid-March through May or June is typically considered the prime time of year to ski or snowboard.

The length of suspension varies from resort to resort. Whistler Blackcomb plans to close for at least one week, while nearly all Ikon Pass destinations will be closed for the rest of the season. New Jersey’s Mountain Creek will remain closed through the end of the month.

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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.

WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.

Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.

WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.

“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.

Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”

Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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